LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Nurses are compassionate backbone of VA system

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This past week the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center honored the many dedicated men and women we in the Department of Veterans Affairs consider to be the compassionate backbone of the veterans' health-care system -- our nurses.

The theme of National Nurses Week 2011 is "Nurses: Trusted to Care," and no one puts more passion into the health-care profession than VA nurses. VA is the nation's largest single employer of nurses, and VA nurses lead their profession in education and training, clinical responsibility and research. But their passion comes from VA's mission -- caring for our veterans.

VA nurses are integral and equal members of our health-care team of professionals. No health-care professional is closer to the veterans we care for than a VA nurse. Our patients rely on them for their compassion and the VA relies on them for setting the highest clinical care standards.

That reliance is well placed. VA's recognition as a leader in health care, patient safety and research is due in large part to its nurses.

I am deeply proud to be associated with all our nurses who serve the veterans here at the Walla Walla VA as well as at our other clinics: Richland, Yakima, La Grande, Lewiston, Grangeville, Idaho, and of all of our nation's 2.9 million registered nurses who work tirelessly to keep us well and save lives around the clock every day.

Diana J. Nelson,

associate director of

Patient Care Services

Walla Walla VAMC

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